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Sunday, October 25, 2009

AAMBC Author Monique D. Mensah

Q.1. What inspired you to write this novel?

A.1. I constantly have story ideas and characters flowing through my mind. A conversation I’ve overheard, a television show, or a news story may spark some ideas. Sometimes I pull from my own experiences or those of my friends. However, the concept of Who Is He To You emerged purely from my imagination. I was prompted by a close friend to get started on my first novel and shortly after I came up with a broad, general idea. I knew that I wanted to defuse some stereotypes and keep the readers shocked and guessing. I wanted to write about things, other authors have yet to explore. The rest unfolded throughout the writing process.

Q.2. What message(s) are you trying to convey to the readers?

A.2. When I started writing Who Is He To You, I did it with the sole intention to entertain. It wasn’t until after I completed the manuscript and read the story in its entirety did I recognize the underlying messages weaved throughout the plot. Women too often count on the men in their lives to validate or complete them. For Simone it was her father, Ryan’s boyfriend, and Jessica’s husband. Women have to learn to love themselves, recognize their self-worth and learn to be happy instead of expecting a man to fill the gaps in their lives.

Q.3. What do you want the readers to feel when reading about the struggles of the three main characters?

A.3. It is my responsibility as the author to create a unique experience for my readers. When reading Who Is He To You, my readers should feel as if they are in the room with these characters, experiencing their stories first hand. I want the readers to feel Simone’s pain, desperation and uncertainty. They should empathize with Ryan’s frustration, and root for Jessica’s emergence into her identity. My goal is to have my readers identify a piece of themselves in one of the three main characters. That makes the story realistic and identifiable.
Q.5. What differentiates you and your novel from other novels in your genre?

A.5. Who Is He To You is edgy and unpredictable. The characters are flawed, complicated, and multi-dimensional. Each chapter is filled with dramatic, descriptive scenes that pull the reader right into the story. Who Is He To You is an intense experience with real depictions of character reactions, emotions, and life situations. The novel gives an intelligent exploration of the infrequently discussed issues of incest, self-injury, and depression in the African-American community. It also breaks down and dispels some stereotypes and opens the readers eyes to fresh, new perspectives.
Q.6. What is your writing process?

A.6. I have a freestyle method of writing. I don’t create outlines for the story or characters. I start with a general idea, and then I begin to type. I allow the characters to take on lives of their own and guide me through to the end. Although I find it difficult to stick to structure, I try to commit to writing at least an hour a day. If during that time, I am unable to come up with actual material, I will spend that time thinking of how to further the story or alter what I’ve already written. I need complete silence when writing because I tend to be distracted easily. I usually write at home, in the evenings after my daughter has fallen asleep. I completed Who Is He To You in nine months by committing to that schedule.

Q.7. What can readers expect from you in the future?

A.7. My readers can expect more dramatic, intense novels filled with literary adrenaline. I will always provide original plots, real dialogue, and believable characters. I like to read the kind of books that make me want to flip back to the beginning after reaching the end. I hope to provide that same type of experience for my readers. My novels will evoke strong emotion and audible reactions. Overall, my readers can expect a unique experience.

Who Is He To You?

When love involves incest, self-mutilation, drug-addiction, and murder, will Simone, Jessica, and Ryan fight to hold on or will they escape before it's too late?
Simone, a shockingly beautiful teen, is on the downward spiral of destruction as she battles incest and self-hatred. She finds cutting to be the only way to relieve her pain. She must do something to regain control of her life and restore her family back to normalcy. But Simone may be too late as unexpected events threaten to throw her dream of contentment far out of reach.
Jessica lives the upscale lifestyle of a refined society matron. She strives to be the perfect wife, but without her husband, Ross, she would be nothing more than the abused stripper he rescued 16 years ago. When their marriage is threatened and it forces her to face her past, Jessica vows to do whatever it takes to protect what she has rightfully earned, even if it means murder.
Ryan, a fiery thirty-something, is quickly slipping into depression and prescription drug addiction. As her boyfriend, Anthony, artfully dangles the empty promise of marriage, she watches helplessly as their relationship dissolves. In an attempt to regain her sanity and self-esteem, she finds herself on a mission of self-restoration while trying to save the life of someone she doesn't even know.
As the shattered lives of three very different women collide, they find that they have one thing in common: They're all in a desperate fight to hold on to love. Experience their emotional journey through to the shocking end where these women will experience injury, imprisonment, and even death while crafting new lives from the ashes of their ruination

Web Links

Author Website: www.MoniqueDMensah.com

Blog: www.MoniqueDMensah.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/MoniqueDMensah

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/MDMensah

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Who-He-You-Monique-Mensah/dp/0578023482/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250203441&sr=8-1

BarnesandNoble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Who-Is-He-To-You/Monique-D-Mensah/e/9780578023489/?itm=1

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcJMgSbyvK0

Monday, October 19, 2009

Conversations w/ Toni Womack

Tell the readers about ...RUNNING WITH SCISSORS.
That's What You Get For Running With Scissors, Volume 1 is a compilation of seventeen short stories of every type of bad relationship drama that a woman can find herself in, if she is not careful. The women in the stories fall for men who eventually hurt them in the end.

Although the women see the signs to be wary of, they desperately want to be in love, no matter what the consequence. Many of the situations have humorous moments but will make you think before you leap. The stories are identifiable even if the reader has not personally experienced these situations, they probably know someone who has. One other thing that makes my book unique is that there is NO male bashing whatsoever.

That's What You Get For Running With Scissors begins with "Stupid Is What Stupid Does, " about a young woman in a relationship with a guy, who in turn, is caught seeing someone else. When the young lady doesn't hear from the man for several months after the incident, she is beside herself with grief thinking the worst. He finally contacts her to explain and "stupid" accepts his excuse only to find out that her "man" is now married to the woman with whom she caught him with in the first place. In "Friends With Benefits" a woman falls for a guy who is the total opposite of the men she usually dates, but finds out too late that he is extremely jealous and will do anything to keep her, including filing criminal charges against her. The other stories include relationships with co-workers, preachers, ex-cons, infidelity and a host of other scenerios.

Where did you come up with the idea for this novel?
Running With Scissors came from my grandmother who was a seamstress. As a child I wanted to help so she would ask me to go get the scissors. As with any child, I would run with them. She would always tell me to stop because I could fall down and get hurt. When I got older, I realized that when a person KNOWINGLY gets into a bad relationship, its like RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, you can fall down and get hurt. My collection is fiction based in reality. Honestly, some of this stuff I didn't make up. I just changed the names to confuse the guilty.

What are your goals as a writer?
My goals are to continue writing my books on my own publishing company (which I have done, BLACKLIGHT PUBLISHING), publish other authors (which I am doing now) and tell different stories not to be pigeoned-holed in one genre. I want to keep my readers guessing on what I am going to put out next.

Has the book business been everything you had imagined it would be?
Not at all. With everything, there are ups and downs. I got into this book business very naive and I wished I had a mentor to let me know what to expect. I had to learn quickly that you have to be more than an artist, you have to know the business and be willing to share it with others. I have met some nationally published authors who felt threatened when I inquired about their journey and almost discourage me. I feel like that there are enough readers out there for all of us to share and everyone doesn't read just one book. I realized quickly you have to work hard, make contacts and work those contacts. But all in all, I love it!

If you go change one or more things relating to your book, what would it be?
I was told to make it longer and to hurry with Volume II

Do you have any ideas or planned releases for the future?
I have several outlines for books, one non-fiction, two more novels that I am currently working on, a completed screenplay that I have shopped around, in negotiations to write for a sitcom, a completed stage play & workshop series on self publishing.

Do you have any favorite authors or books?
I have few. Self-published authors are Trice Hickman & Frankie Nicole. I met them and had the opportunity to read their books. I am excited about Trice's new book which should be out this month. Nationally published would be Pearl Cleage, J California Cooper & Walter Mosley. These people are iconic and would love my place in time like all of them. I really loved E. Lynn Harris. I am going to miss him.

Visit her at www.toniwo.com

Sunday, October 11, 2009

AAMBC Author: Terry Deron

Terry DeRon possesses a unique set of skills and experience that allow him to deliver a dynamic first-person writing style his fans have come to love. Terry received his bachelor’s degree in Television/film production from Southern University in 2002. Prior to attending college he served three years in the United States Army. In both of these situations Terry’s written and verbal communication skills guided his path. In the military he used his crafty word play to impress various members of his chain-of-command and demonstrate his complex thinking. His ability to make his words come to life and vividly explain whatever he was thinking would be the stepping stone that lead to the outstanding author we have today. Most of his military comrades were shocked to find out he was barely seventeen when he joined them.

After a successful transition from Fort Hood, Texas to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in June Terry used the Army College Fund to finance his education. He naturally selected Mass Communication as the area where he wanted to dedicate his studies and boy did it pay dividends. The use of words and the manipulation of information he learned while training to become a news reporter is evident in his first novel Game Recognize Game.

The unexpected twists in the story and the unique perspectives given on every situation lure readers further and further into an exciting world of erotic drama with each turn of the page.

Terry has stated several times that he wrote the first five chapters of the book out of boredom while training to work as a claim representative for State Farm Insurance. It was the overwhelming response he received from people that he let read those first chapters that motivated him to see the book through to its completion.

While he worked to complete Game Recognize Game, Terry put in motion a makeshift marketing plan that helped create a resounding industry buzz before the novel was even available to be purchased. He gave the preview to his book to anyone that would take the time to read it from the very day that it was written. This innovative strategy paired with a titillating plot is sure to ignite a path to the minds and hearts of thousands of readers who will come to adore the work of Terry DeRon for years to come.

Interview with Terry Deron
What inspired you to write Game Recognize Game?

Initially I wrote the first five chapters of the book out of boredom while training for a job in Baton Rouge, LA. I was training to become a claims representative for State Farm Insurance and the training was so simple that I had to find another way to stimulate my brain and make time go by. But it was seeing and hearing people’s reactions to those first few chapters that motivated me to see the book through to completion.

What separates you from other authors that write in this particular genre of literature?

That’s a complicated question but I’ll do my best to answer it. I believe that my life experiences combined with a few specialized skills I have allow me to write in an extremely vivid first-person dialogue. I received my bachelors degree in television/film production and I teach middle school English, so I have a distinct advantage over most authors because I understand the elements that make up visual media and I’m able to describe to the reader what they would see on a movie screen. Combine that with the fact that I can type around 80 w.p.m. That allows me to type everything that I hear when I’m imagining my stories taking place.

What advice would you give to anyone trying to write a novel?

This is my first novel but I’m self-publishing it so I would recommend anyone contemplating writing a book to try to think from a publishers standpoint through the entire process. I’m talking about everything from title conception to cover design. A publisher’s bottom line is selling books, so as an author you should try to make it as easy as possible for your publisher (or yourself) to sell your product. You have to kill your ego and understand that you have to think about what your reader’s will think, say, and how they will react to your material.

Who are some of the writers that inspired you to seek that career path?

Well, I have always been an avid reader. So I have always been intrigued by the amount of attention that you dedicate to a good book. With that in mind, Michael Baisden’s Never Satisfied: How and why men cheat was the book that planted the thought that you can talk about all of the real situations men and women go through and people will want to read it. I’d have to say that my biggest influences were Michael Baisden, Eric J. Dickey, and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Game Recognize Game is an intricate portrayal of the motives and situations that drive four young adults into an intense game of lust and lies. Terry gives a vivid account of what life is like at a Historically Black University, how that relates to corporate America and how easy it is to get caught up in both worlds.

Tracy Spencer, a senior in college and an intern at the hottest radio station in town quickly gets in over her head when she gets involved with her smooth talking boss Troy. Her life gets flipped upside down when one of Troy’s other women realizes she has been replaced by the young attractive intern.

Troy Vincent is the promotions director at Constant Communications who specializes in mixing business with pleasure. His office escapades catch up with him when Simone, the sexy stallion from the accounting department discovers she isn’t the only woman receiving his services.

Simone has let go of her past and seems to be moving toward the lifestyle she sees in her dreams when she falls for the suave new executive in the promotions department. She is virtually planning the wedding in her head when she painfully discovers that she doesn’t fit anywhere into Troy’s long-term plans. Simone’s anger and rage is quickly transformed into a diabolical plot to get revenge on the people that scorned her.

Mark Parvais is the star cornerback for the SU Cats and one of the top NFL prospects in the country. He struggles with the responsibility of fatherhood while trying to maximize the benefits of being an athlete at an HBCU. Everything in Mark’s life seems to be falling into place when a bad decision devastates the people closest to him. Will he be able to put the pieces back together in time to fulfill his ultimate dream of playing professional football?

As their lives become intertwined and situations escalate out of control they are left with only two options, play or get played. Brace yourself for this one!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

AAMBC Fall Virtual Tours with Debut Author Corey Barnes

Corey J. Barnes is a long time native of Lakeland, Florida. Currently he resides there with his son Corey Jr. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and is currently working on his PhD in Instructional Leadership and Adult Education.

Becoming an author and also establishing the publishing company CJ Publishing has fulfilled a lifelong dream for Corey as he attempts to bring true romance and integrity back to urban fiction, from a male perspective, hence his moniker, “The Renaissance Man of Romance”.

In his debut novel What Is This Love Thing All About? Corey displays that chivalry is not dead and the thrill of the chase is still present in today’s world. Presently, Corey is working on his second novel. In addition to his work as a middle school administrator, Corey also coaches high school boys basketball and his son’s little league football team. When he is not writing, he enjoys spending time with his son and working out.

Be careful what you wish for…. Is what you think you want…… Really what you need?

Meet Rick Jenkins, who has everything that most would love to have in life. Great job, great looks, well educated, money, he has it all, except for one thing – a woman to share it with. A single and eligible bachelor, Rick can’t seem to even find a good woman to go on a date with, much less to think about take it to the next level. Rick is content to take life as it is until one night at a sorority fund raising function, he runs into Aphrodite Morrison and his fate changes forever.

Aphrodite is a mysterious, yet angelic woman who Rick is lost for from the first minute he talks to her. A partner in one of the top advertising companies in the Greater Atlanta area, she does not have a want for anything. There is another side to Aphrodite that looms under the surface. When she thinks she has met the perfect man, her past threatens everything that she thinks may be meant for her and happening with Rick. Fate collides with destiny and creates doubt; does anyone really know: What is this Love Thing All About?

Interview questions:
Where were you born?
I was born in Lakeland, Florida.
Education background?
I attended and graduated from Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Fl. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Education, specializing in Specific Learning Disabilities and Elementary Education from University of South Florida. I then obtained my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Leo University. I am currently working on my PhD in Adult Education and Instructional Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

What's your inspiration or who is?
My inspiration in all that I do is my son, CJ. He is the very best part of me and is the reason I wake up in the morning. He is my heartbeat and my motivation.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was a child I had dreams of either being a pro football player or a lawyer. As you can see, neither one of them took place.
Did you ever think you'd ever become an author?
I never thought I would become an author. I love to read, but I didn’t think I would ever do it myself, even though it was one of my goals. It was one of those things where you think about something but know it will never be, but it has and it is very exciting.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It took me a total of 8 months to write my first book. I actually wrote the first character in 5 months, and went back and added in the 2nd, which took 3 more months.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book, What Is This Love Thing All About at the age of 32.
Whose writing do you admire most?
The author whose style I admire the most is Eric Jerome Dickey. I also enjoy Dwayne Joseph’s style.

Were you a good student in school?
I was actually a very good student in school.

Tell me about your revision process.
I usually read from the back to the front for corrections needed. Doing it this way makes the story pretty much gibberish and in that sense, I can just concentrate on making sure that sentence structure and things of that nature are correct.

Did you like school? What was your favorite subject?
I enjoyed school. I am a life long learner and look to continually improve myself. My favorite subject in school was English, which helped me with being an author and the next subject was Math. I hated Science in school, but did it because I had too.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Get to Know Loretta "Faith" Harris

1.Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I am an educator, author, publisher, and radio personality. As a high school teacher, I strive to ignite a passion for reading in the lives of my students. In 2006, I coauthored five young adult chapter books with my inner city middle school students. The day after its completion, I met in a life threatening car accident and doctors told my family that I was not going to make it. By the grace of God, I have survived and lived to tell my story which is detailed in my memoir, “The Journey Less Traveled: Choose to Turn Your Tragedy into Triumph.”

2.Why did you write this book?

I wrote “The Journey Less Traveled” to encourage readers who are facing life’s tragic occurrences to never give up. You are speaking to someone who died, relied on life support while in a medically induced coma. The entire left side of my body was broken into multiple parts and countless internal organs damaged. I believe that the greatest adversity in our lifetime is death and if “I” escaped its grip then “You” should be inspired to overcome your obstacles.

3.What message do you hope to share with readers?

I felt a sincere burden to reach out and tell others that I have resided at “ground zero” and they are not alone. Tragedy has no favorites and unfortunately bad things indeed happen to good people. Despite the obstacles, as long as there is breath in your body there is hope!

4.How do you hope your story will inspire others?

I hope that people will be empowered supernaturally and never give up. It is important that you understand the lessons in every tragic situation that has or will occur in your life. Even if it hurts you must make the decision to, “Take the Journey Less Traveled and Choose to Turn Your Tragedy into Triumph!”

5.Where can people learn more about your writings and other efforts?

You can visit our business websites: www.chpublishing.org or www.myspace.com/chpublishing

6.How can our readers contact you directly?

I can be reached directly via email: LHarris@chpublishing.org, or Mail: P.O. Box 691223 Orlando, FL 32869

7.How can someone purchase a book?

Online: www.chpublishing.org; www.amazon.com and everywhere books are sold.

Mail check or money order: $15 + 4.50 (shipping) P.O. Box 691223 Orlando, FL 32869

Thank you,

Loretta “Faith” Harris

“The Journey Less Traveled: Choose to Turn Your Tragedy into Triumph”
By, Loretta “Faith” Harris

At some point during life’s journey, you will come face to face with adversity. Enduring the hardship, while holding true to your faith and the promises of God, are key components in your victory over these devastating encounters. As a survivor of tragedy, Loretta Harris speaks candidly about her encounter with death, the emotional upheavals, and her struggle to transition back into reality. Readers of all ages, cultures, and experiences will be empowered by one woman’s choice to triumph over her tragedy.

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